Women between the ages of approximately 45 and 55 years old will experience perimenopause and menopause. One of the biggest complaints I hear from patients is that they cannot sleep. They toss and turn all night and never feel well-rested. This may be due to the fluctuating hormones as their body changes. Working with me, we identify what is happening and support them with naturopathic remedies.
Menopause and Insomnia
As a woman’s body moves from reproductive years to perimenopause to menopause, hormone levels decrease. Oftentimes, the hormones are changing at different rates making you feel vastly different emotions over the course of a short span of time. If the endocrine system is lacking or low in progesterone and estrogen, this can cause insomnia. This is because progesterone plays a role in an important chemical in the brain called: GABA.1 GABA helps calm the nervous system, without GABA sleep may feel more restless, contribute to difficulty sleeping and lead to anxiety.1,2 In addition, estrogen helps the body regulate your REM sleep cycle.1 Low estrogen can also contribute to insomnia due to increased hot flashes and night sweats. Many patients of mine report their hot flashes and night sweats become much worse at night, causing them to have difficulty sleeping and then excessive fatigue during the next day.
Other symptoms of low progesterone include, spotting, irregular bleeding, heavy bleeding, fibroid or tumor development, high cholesterol or triglycerides, and malfunctioning thyroid. Symptoms of low estrogen are: hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, joint and muscle aches, depression and even palpitations.
A blood test will confirm hormone levels in the body and enables a naturopathic doctor to develop a treatment plan.
Treatment for Insomnia
Once I have information from your bloodwork and understand your symptoms, we can begin a treatment plan. For my patients, this often looks like a lifestyle plan to get your body and mind in a less stressful place than where you are today. I use a number of naturopathic remedies to support your health including:
- Balancing hormones using bioidentical hormone therapy. This therapy mimics natural hormones and eases women through perimenopause and menopause.
- Creating a bedtime routine to get your mind to a relaxed place. Epsom salt baths, turning off devices, and taking naturopathic remedies prescribed by a doctor, are just a few of the treatments I may recommend for you.
- Eating healthy foods is a natural way to support healthy sleep. Avoid caffeine after noon or altogether if you have anxiety along with insomnia. Avoid foods containing processed sugar as they stimulate the mind and may cause anxiety which can contribute to insomnia.
- Limit dairy intake as much of our dairy contains hormones which impact levels in the body. Dairy-based hormones may be causing some of the symptoms you are experiencing like spotting and irregular periods, along with the natural progression to perimenopause and menopause.
Overall, I recommend detoxifying your life to feel better.
- Turn off the news and social media.
- Unfollow people, pages, and groups who cause you stress. When you cringe reading an article or post, it is good to time-out. It is not that you don’t love those people; you need to do what is best for your health.
- Go for a walk. Exercise is not only a stress reliever; it stimulates the happy hormones. If you are prone to sleepless nights, exercise early in the day.
- Enjoy nature. Connecting to the earth is an effective way to literally ground yourself and avoid whatever has you experiencing insomnia. Sit still. Watch the sunrise or sunset. Just be. Go for a hike. Take time to appreciate who and what are around you.
When it comes to the connection between insomnia and menopause, it is often hormone levels that are changing during this time that cause sleepless nights. Talk to a naturopathic doctor who can guide and support you through this time.
Are you ready to get a good night of sleep? Please call Atlas Health Medical Group at 480-648-1534 to make an appointment.